Fiji produced a mesmerising second-half display to blitz Georgia 45-10 and end their losing start at the Rugby World Cup.
Led by Semi Radradra’s unstoppable performance, Fiji ran in seven tries and scored 38 points in the second half to clinch a bonus-point victory in the Pool D clash on Thursday.
After back-to-back losses to open the showpiece tournament, Fiji boosted their chances of finishing third in the group, which guarantees qualification for the 2023 World Cup.
Georgia had the first chance for points, and it was a moment of confusion after Soso Matiashvili’s penalty conversion was initially given the all-clear.
FULL TIME at Hanazono Stadium. A rampant Flying Fijians run in 7 tries to thump Georgia 45-10. #FJVSGEO.
— Fiji Rugby Union (@fijirugby) October 3, 2019
The attempt appeared to have missed the sticks, with one flag going up and other staying down. After a couple of minutes, the penalty was chalked off the scoreboard.
Fiji adapted to the wet conditions better in Higashiosaka and Waisea Nayacalevu sprinted clear to give the Flying Fijians a 20th-minute lead.
Georgia switched off as a pass from Ben Volavola appeared to be bouncing out of play, but it stayed in and Radradra fed Nayacalevu, who powered over as the former added the extras.
After Georgia travelled almost the entire length of the field, Fiji fell just inches short of a try but a penalty during that phase allowed Matiashvili to reduce Fiji’s lead prior to half-time.
Fiji proved too quick and too powerful five minutes into the second half, though, as Frank Lomani benefited from some stunning build-up play to eventually ground the ball, though Volavola was unsuccessful with the conversion.
A third try followed five minutes later – Georgia ripped to shreds after Radradra paved the way for Josua Tuisova to make it 17-3 from out wide as Volavola missed again.
3 – Semi Radradra has become the first player at #RWC2019 to make three try assists in a single game, the joint-most ever by a @FijiRugby player in a World Cup game. Excellent.#GEOvFIJ pic.twitter.com/2okjDf24ct
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) October 3, 2019
Back-to-back misses from Volavola kept Georgia alive and they reduced the deficit three minutes via Mamuka Gorgodze, but their hopes were dashed when Radradra’s try and Volavola’s extras restored Fiji’s 14-point buffer.
It was party time from that point as quick-fire tries from Semi Kunatani and Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, and a second for Radradra put the helpless Georgia side to the sword during the closing stages.
Radradra dazzles in the rain
Radradra put on a show as he became the first player at this year’s World Cup to make three try assists in the same game – the joint-most by a Fiji player at the showpiece tournament. He also scored two tries of his own to cap a memorable display.
Fiji stung into response
Fiji were left reeling after their shock loss to Uruguay, who won a World Cup match for the first time in 16 years. But Fiji restored some pride by blitzing Georgia.
Both teams will conclude their campaigns with huge tests, as Fiji face Wales in Oita on October 9 and Georgia take on Australia in Fukuroi two days later.
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